During the week I attended the Sony Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House and was suitably impressed with the breadth and volume of the work on display.
Shaun Mills, a local photographer, was shortlisted with a photograph of Dovercourt lighthouse. I had seen the lighthouse in photos before but until Shaun shared his work, I didn’t realize it was 20 minutes from where we lived!
I was browsing the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), web site last week when I noticed they had a photo day planned for Harwich and Dovercourt. As there were tickets available, Richard and I decided to join the group.
There were about 20 people in the group and we met on the main coast road in the howling wind and rain (as far away from the weather last weekend when I booked this than you can imagine!).
The group consisted of a varied bunch of photographers, all with different levels of skill and equipment.
There was a route set which would take us along the coast past the lighthouses, along to the beach huts, back into town and then onto the fort and the coast at the other end.
We had a nice morning with the photographers and spent quite some time taking shots of the lighthouses.
I have always had an interest in long exposure photography but seldom master it (or take my tripod). I did try some shots during the day but didn’t use my tripod and opted for the sea wall to prop my camera on.
I know the type of image I wanted to shot but the weather wasn’t going to allow this as it was very windy and grey with hardly any clouds.
There was also a lot of spray and sand flying around so it was hard to take clean shots.
I also realized that shooting with 20 other people meant you were all trying to shoot something similar and patience had to play a role as you were not always guaranteed a clear shot.
We had a set of tasks which was given to help us think of specific things to shoot and to encourage our creativity.
These were the tasks:
- Panning – A movement with an element of the image sharp.
- Wide Open – Use a large aperture to create a very shallow Depth of Field.
- Detail – getting in close. Could also be abstract.
- High Contrast Monochrome – An image containing full blacks and full whites.
- Multiple Exposure – 2 or more frames overlaid in camera. Not all cameras can do
this but it can be achieved in post processing also. Or if not then try Creative.
- My choice – Images that you would like to be included in the Gallery.
The two people leading our group were nice and we were discussing my Olympus set up and my Rollei which I had taken to use up the last couple of exposures.
One of the group was particularly interested in my Rollei which I gladly took out of my bag for him to take a look.
Richard and I left the group around 1 (the day ran from 11 to 9) for a cuppa and something to eat. Our intention was to find the group and catch them up but that didn’t happen.
We spent the rest of the day completing the route and snapping quite a bit. The weather and venue made for a challenging day but we took our time and I even got to use my telephoto lens (which I hardly ever take with me or feel the need to use).
Upon our walk back to the car, we passed the group heading in the other direction.
I took plenty of photos but I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the results when I got home. Most were brown and muted and this was due to the stormy conditions. Converting them to black and white helped but in all I wasn’t that impressed with my photographs from the day.
I did take 5 photos with the Rollei and I believe they may contain the better shots (I will have to wait until I develop the film to find out).
Here are my favourite photos from the day:
Let me know what you think…
It’s a shame we didn’t spend more time with the group but it was nice to meet up with like-minded people and the route/tasks for the day gave us enough inspiration to spend the day focussing on our photography.
Richard and I do plan to join other photo days that are coming up in the area and I have submitted a few shots for inclusion in the blog/exhibition that will accompany the day on the East Anglia RPS web site.